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Sudan's army says African Union-Ethiopia deal paves way for talks

Sudan's ruling generals say they have accepted a joint proposal from the African Union and Ethiopia to work toward a transitional government.

More rallies planned amid fears of another deadly crackdown

Sudanese protesters gesture as they chant slogans along a street in Khartoum and demand that the country's transitional military council hand over power to civilians on June 3. (Reuters)

Sudan's ruling generals say they have accepted a joint proposal from the African Union and Ethiopia to work toward a transitional government.

Lt.-Gen. Shams Eddin Kabashi, a spokesperson for the military council, said late Friday the generals are ready to resume "immediate, serious and honest" negotiations to end the political stalemate with the protesters based on the joint proposal.

Protest leaders, represented by the coalition Forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change, said Thursday the proposal was based on a previous initiative from Ethiopia for a power-sharing agreement.

In recent weeks, Ethiopia and the AU have been mediating between the military council and the pro-democracy movement demanding civilian rule.

Talks collapsed when Sudanese security forces cleared a protest camp in the capital, Khartoum, earlier this month.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International says Sudanese authorities must guarantee the safety of protesters ahead of planned mass rallies and following a deadly military crackdown that has left more than 100 dead since early June.

The rights group released a statement Friday quoting its Secretary General, Kumi Naidoo, as saying: "The horrific unprovoked use of lethal and unnecessary force against peaceful protesters as witnessed in early June must not be repeated this Sunday, or ever again."

The military took over the country after protests drove longtime autocratic president Omar al-Bashir from power in April. Negotiations with protesters over the transfer of power to civilians reached a deadlock following the clampdown on their sit-in.

Nationwide protests are planned for Sunday to mark 30 years since al-Bashir took over in a military coup.

About 60 people died on June 3 as activists in the capital, Khartoum, turned prayers marking the Eid al-Fitr holiday into political protests.

At the time, Mohammed Yousef al-Mustafa of the Sudanese Professionals Association, which has spearheaded the protests, said demonstrations and civil disobedience would continue until the fall of the military council.

The movement wants the generals who took power to hand over authority to civilians.

 

 

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